Yes, this is Kaio! Why is he here? Because he’s bloody awesome! Also because the author needs sleep
Nagoya’s Middle Weekend.
This weekend represents the half way point of the Nagoya basho, and what a crazy piece of sumo it has been already. The second act, which began on day 6, typically features narrowing the field to a handful of gusto contenders. Right now it’s tough to see anyone putting a stop to a second Hakuho yusho, but any given day on the dohyo can be a stage for surprises and changes of fortune. Keep in mind Hakuho was injured a year ago in Nagoya, and required surgery and months of physical therapy to become a viable Yokozuna once more.
As with the prior days of this basho, we have another great cluster of first time meetings between new rikishi and the old guard. These never fail to provide interest and some fantastic sumo.
Matches We Like
Chiyonokuni vs Nishikigi – Something happened to Chiyonokuni. At one point he was a rising star in sumo, in fact he was Maegashira 1 in May. Now he fights without winning, an seems to be a broken rikishi. Today he takes on Nishikigi, who very much wants to secure his future in Makuuchi.
Kotoyuki vs Shohozan – “Big Guns” Shohozan goes up against another hapless rikishi: Kotoyuki. I expect that Kotoyuki’s injuries may keep him from putting up much of a contest this time, as Shohozan is doing quite well so far this basho.
Daishomaru vs Okinoumi – First meeting between these two, and we finally saw some signs of life from Okinoumi on day 6. When his injuries are under control, he can and does show up with fantastic sumo.
Ichinojo vs Aoiyama – The Man Mountain Aoiyama remains unbeaten. I have my doubts that Inchinojo will be the one to give him his first loss. This is an indication that we will see Aoiyama fight further up the banzuke shortly.
Ishiura vs Tochiozan – With only one prior meeting, it could be quite interesting. Except that Ishiura is quite unimpressive so far this tournament. Tochiozan on the other hand is doing quite well.
Onosho vs Kagayaki – Onosho has won 3 of their prior 4 meetings, and we can expect him to make that #4 on Saturday. Onosho is looking quite genki at the moment.
Yoshikaze vs Hokotofuji – The up-and-comer holds a 2-1 career advantage over the berserker! I expect a lot of furious action in this bout, so genuinely looking forward to it.
Ura vs Mitakeumi – First time meeting between a couple of great rikishi who have increasing amounts of fan and sponsor support. I would guess this will be all Mitakeumi, as he has been blowing out his lower ranked opponents. But Ura you can not count out. This could be the match of the day.
Takayasu vs Shodai – These two have split their prior 4 meetings, which is a bit of a surprise given how strong Takayasu’s tachiai is and how weak Shodai’s typically is.
Takakeisho vs Goeido – Maegashira 1 vs a seasoned Ozeki. It should be a walk over win with a strong chance of dismemberment. But the Ozeki is Goeido, so who knows?
Kotoshogiku vs Harumafuji – These two have a long history of matches going back many years, and Kotoshogiku leads by a surprising number of wins. Both rikishi are clearly functioning a fraction of their capability, but I expect Harumafuji to win.
Hakuho vs Ikioi – This should be a quick ejection of Ikioi and another win closer for the all time record for the boss.